Emerging at Sundance was Wes Anderson discovery Lucas Hedges (“Moonrise Kingdom”) for his performance in Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester By the Sea.” As Patrick, Hedges switches on a dime from a son mourning his father (Kyle Chandler) and tussling with his uncle (Casey Affleck) about his future to flirting with high school girls. A star is born. And a SAG nomination followed.
Jeff Bridges won critics’ raves at Cannes for surprise indie sleeper “Hell or High Water,” as well as Critics Choice, SAG, Globe and BAFTA nominations. This is his seventh Oscar nomination; he won Best Actor for “Crazy Heart” in 2010, which might lessen his chances of winning another.
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Breaking out at Telluride and Toronto was Barry Jenkins’ ensemble in “Moonlight” (A24), especially “House of Cards” star Mahershala Ali in the role of the Cuban-born drug-dealer who nurtures the young boy “Little.” So far Globe and BAFTA nominee is the frontrunner, winning the Gotham, New York and Los Angeles film Critics, Critics Choice, and SAG awards, where he gave a moving speech identifying as a Muslim.
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In Venice and Toronto, “Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel won kudos for his moving performance in “Lion,” as the adult who finds the parents he lost at age five via Google Earth. He landed Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and SAG nominations. In a big surprise, Patel won the BAFTA at home in London.
And Oscar voters went with Michael Shannon over his “Nocturnal Animals” co-star, Golden Globe-winner and BAFTA nominee Aaron Taylor-Johnson. This marks Shannon’s second supporting nomination, after 2008’s “Revolutionary Road.”
The Weinstein Company
1. Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”)
2. Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”)
3. Dev Patel (“Lion”)
4. Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”)
5. Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”)